Ask any fashion expert the key to unfussy autumn chic and they will utter two fateful words: ‘Layering, darling.’
But there are three problems with the style cognoscenti’s love of layers.
Firstly, crisp-collared shirts, superluxe knits and coats with detailed trims cost money — and an update of every piece in your mid-season wardrobe is bad for sustainability, too. Secondly, for those of us with curves, the added bulk of the layered look does few favours to one’s silhouette.
Alexandria Dale shares hacks to keep you on top of the trends this season. Pictured: Collar a brand-new look: jumper, £85, boden.co.uk
And thirdly, by some miracle, it is still too balmy outside to layer up in comfort.
The solution? It’s time to fake it.
From loop-on lapels to shirt tails you hitch to your waistband, add-on accessories that fool the eye are a must-have and mean you can update an outfit without having to splurge. From just £15, these style hacks will keep you on top of the trends this season.
1 Give your coat some luxe lapels
Collar, £44, helenmoore.com
A classic tailored jacket, from Crombie to pea coat, is a wardrobe staple. Chances are you’ll have an old favourite you wheel out from the back of your wardrobe each year once the mercury drops.
Brands including Shrimps, Khaite, Saks Potts, and Charlotte Simone have all added furry accents to this season’s coats at the collar and sleeves. Save buying a new coat and, instead, update yours by adding a faux fur collar and cuffs.
2 Pop on a collar
The Peter Pan collar has featured on the catwalk for the past few seasons at brands such as Jacquemus, Chloe, and Ganni.
People pounced on the collar trend during the pandemic when Zoom presented the chance to show off the style, and it’s just as popular now.
Shopping platform Lyst reported searches for Peter Pan-collar shirts have increased 32 per cent since the start of September. Grab either a jumper with a faux shirt collar or a totally detachable version of the trend.
3 Tailoring that’s all in the wrist
Cuffs, £21, meandem.com
British brand ME+EM has become synonymous with relaxed, tailored style. These broderie layering cuffs achieve the statement sleeve look for less than a third of the price of the brand’s ornately-cuffed shirts.
Slip under sleeves with the frill peeking out at the wrists, or try a pair of Merino wool cuffs designed to be worn on top of shirts and jumpers.
4 Go for a backless shirt
Many of us have spent the past 18 months in loungewear, thanks to working from home. With the return to the office, comes the struggle to readjust to formal workwear. Created to be worn under knitwear and jackets to give the appearance of a smart shirt, without bulk, the blouse insert is an easy way to nail this season’s layered look. The style is super-chic, even if the elasticated straps to keep the insert in place are anything but (and you can’t take off your jacket or jumper). But this will quickly become the hero item you didn’t know you needed.
5 Indulge your love of loungewear with a hoodie
If you can’t bear to part with your loungewear completely, achieve that smart -casual balance by layering a structured blazer over the top of a hoodie.
There’s no need to fork out on a whole new item of clothing, especially if you have drawers of hoodless jumpers.
Simply look for a knitted hood that can be tucked in at the neck to achieve the same look and add extra warmth and layers, with no need to coordinate the colours and design.
It’s a fun and trendy alternative to your beanie hat.
6 Fake yourself a shirt tail
An oversized shirt is a wardrobe staple, whether in classic white, blue or striped. This season the look is a 1990s-inspired boxy silhouette, like the boyfriend shirt (£85) from With Nothing Underneath, layered under a sweater.
If you don’t own one, or if your existing one is too short, fake it with a faux shirt tail. It comes with an elastic waistband so the length can be adjusted. Teamed with a jumper, it gives the illusion of stylish layering.
7 Bibs aren’t just for babies
Open side vest, £69, cosstores.com
Bibs , collars, tabards, whatever you want to call them — if you haven’t got your hands on one yet, what are you waiting for?
Covering the chest and back, they come in varying lengths and have open sides, some which can be tied or fastened. With roll-neck styles and zip-front designs, these unfinished tank tops are designed to be worn under jackets and coats as an extra layer. Jacquemus and John Galliano for Maison Margiela have released their take on the trend, and the high street has followed suit with Cos and H&M offering some purse-friendly options.